NASCAR Preview – Best Finish Determines Championship!
by Kent Whitaker Scores & Statson
NASCAR is winding up the 2018 season in Miami / Homestead and the running of the Ford Eco Boost 400 and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship is on the line! Four drivers have a shot at taking home the Championship and it all boils down to which one of them has the best finish.
Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., and Joey Logano are the only four, of sixteen, remaining drivers to have made the Playoffs. The misperception is one of those four must win the race to become champion. That’s not the case. Any of the drivers entered in the 400 can win the race. But the title will be determined on where the four remaining drivers finish, how many points they pick up at the end of each stage and where they cross the line when the final Checkered flag flies.
In fact, all the Championship Four drivers can wreck in the first five minutes and never finish the race! Let’s hope that does not happen, but the Cup Series Champion would be determined by points and where the finished according to lap data information from NASCAR scoring loops. Talk about what NASCAR does NOT want to happen!
But with the last race and the Championship on the line, you can bet that plenty of drivers not eligible to take home the crown will be battling for a win to play the spoiler role. And, oddsmakers may see that scenario coming into play. The Top-Five favored drivers to win the 400 include all four eligible driver – and a spoiler tossed in the middle.
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Larson has not won a race this season, but he’s come close a few times. He won four races last season and was the dominating ride last year at Miami where he led 145 laps. He finished third behind Kyle Busch and Truex who finished second which was good enough to win the 2017 Cup Series Championship. Larson seems to run well at Miami as he’s raced their five times and has three top-five finishes with 280 laps up front.
But the fact is that the favored driver to win the 400 is Harvick and there’s a good reason. He’s been dominating for much of 2018. He probably could have won more than eight races this season if not due to a few issues with pit road penalties, getting caught in other driver’s wrecks. Remember, he had one win taken away following a failure in post-race inspection. Plus, he has a win at Homestead along with nine top-five and fifteen top-ten finishes.
The Championship Four driver not getting much respect heading into Sunday’s race is Joey Logano at +900. With Harvick, Busch, Larson, and Truex coming in close together, it’s strange to see Logano almost at +1000. One reason for this may be that Homestead has not been one of his better tracks.
He has raced there nine times and failed to finish once due to a wreck. He does have two top-five runs but has only led a handful of laps. Most of his finishes at Homestead have been outside of the top-fifteen. The good news for Logano fans is that his best runs at the facility have come over the last three years where he’s finished 4th, 4th, and 6th last season.
Additional Odds for Winning Ford Eco Boast 400
NASCAR Weekend Viewing Guide:
It’s Championship Weekend for NASCAR. All three series will crown their Champions at Homestead / Miami starting on Friday night with the Camping World Truck Series.
Friday, Nov. 16
• 8:35 – 9:25 a.m. – Truck practice (No TV) • 10:05 – 10:55 a.m. – Final Truck practice (No TV) • 1 – 2:20 p.m. – Cup practice (NBCSN, Motor Racing Network) • 2:35 – 3:25 p.m. – Xfinity practice (NBCSN) • 3:45 p.m. – Truck Series qualifying; single truck/two rounds (Fox Sports 1) • 5:05 – 5:55 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (NBCSN) • 6:10 p.m. – Cup qualifying; multi-car/three rounds (NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) • RACE - 8 p.m. – Ford EcoBoost 200; 134 laps/201 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
Saturday, Nov. 17
• 11:35 – 12:25 p.m. – Cup practice (NBCSN, MRN) • 12:35 p.m. – Xfinity qualifying; multi-car/three rounds (NBCSN) • 2 – 2:50 p.m. – Final Cup practice (NBCSN, MRN) • RACE - 3:30 p.m. – Ford EcoBoost 300; 200 laps/300 miles (NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
Sunday, Nov. 18
• RACE - 2:30 p.m. – Ford EcoBoost 400; 267 laps/400.5 miles (NBC, Championship 4 simulcast on NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)